When should you consult a family law lawyer ?

A family law lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in issues touching on family relationships, like succession rights, child custody or divorce. He is able to bring, through his expertise and experience in the field, his skills to the framework of a contentious procedure, but he also strives to reach an amicable solution for his clients. This article will help you best understand the specific role of a family law attorney, with a focus on international family law. 

What is an international family law attorney ?

An international family law attorney is a specialist in family matters that have an international element, like filiation, divorce proceedings, alimony, paternity suit, marriage, prenuptial agreement or child custody. They are usually familiar with different legal systems. It is highly recommended to use the competences of an international family law lawyer, in order to be advised and assisted in all your family proceedings that have an international dimension. 

Why should you hire a family law attorney ?

In France, you can be required in some cases to hire a family law attorney. 

For instance, it is mandatory to be represented by a lawyer when it comes to divorce proceedings: even in the case of a divorce by mutual consent, it is mandatory to be represented by a lawyer before the French Judge for Family Affairs (JAF). 

Complications are likely to arise due to differences in family law between two or more countries. So if your situation has an international element to it (for example, you married in another country, or married a foreign person, or you have assets such as a property in another country), it is highly recommended to hire an international family law lawyer, in order to get customized assistance. 

In France, matters such as parental authority, domestic violence or alimony do not legally require the assistance of a family law attorney. Although optional, the assistance of an international family law attorney is nonetheless recommended. You may need specific guidance regarding your situation. You can also consult a family law attorney to get customized advice and guidance on matrimonial regimes or international succession.

Matrimonial matters and the help of an international family law attorney

Family law attorneys specifically intervene in proceedings relating to matrimonial matters and marital separations. They can also play a role in proceedings relating to paternity and filiation matters, as well as domestic and family violence. They provide assistance for all legal issues relating to family law and divorce proceedings, specifically international divorces and child custody cases. They look after the interests of separated couples and their children, with a specific focus on international families. 

International family law and children

International family law lawyers give separated or divorced parents legal advice, and guide them through the process of coming to a successful co-parenting plan. They can cover a vast array of matters, like child custody, alimony, shared residence, contact with a non-resident parent, child abductions, etc. They also help initiate legal proceedings relating to grandparent visitation rights. 

Vulnerable adults : the role of family law attorneys

It is highly recommended to consult a family lawyer before any proceedings before the French guardianship judge. Obtaining a vulnerable adult protection order for a family member (like curatorship or guardianship) requires that individualized assistance be provided, in order to efficiently balance the interests of each party. Family law attorneys ensure that the required protection measures are best suited for the vulnerable adult and that there is no conflict of interest between the parties. 

Donations and inheritance in international family law

The questions around international inheritance are complex, considering the fact that rules regarding successions vary depending on the countries. Consequently, the assistance of an attorney expert in international inheritance issues can prove very helpful. 

International inheritance and succession concerns people who possess assets abroad, people who died while living abroad, or people whose heirs are foreign or live abroad. In France, it is mandatory to be represented by an attorney when there is a dispute regarding succession and/or donation. 

The legal framework governing international inheritance evolves quickly. In France, a new law entered into force in 2015 to simplify international successions. Now, the assets of a deceased person are ruled under the law of the state in which the person usually resided at the time of their death.

An international family lawyer can also provide assistance with regards to donations of any kind, or will and testament. They  will strive to find the best solutions for their clients regarding the protection of their assets, their donations or their life insurance, while considering the interests of all the parties involved.